Date: 26-06-2018

NEWS - Growing communities and sharing knowledge: The Community Foundation is doing well!

Small and big successes in Almaty, Kazakhstan

Nazym, a five-year-old girl from Almaty, Kazakhstan, was in a bit of despair when a homework assignment required her to make a family newspaper. It was to be shared with her classmates, but her parents had separated a couple of months earlier. All the photos she picked out for the newspaper showed events that reminded her of happy times.

Nazym decided to call her father and asked him to help her with the newspaper. After working together for a week, he presented the newspaper with her in class. It was a great moment of shared happiness, surprisingly not just for Nazym, but also for her parents. The event sparked them to find a way to mend their separation. Nazym now lives with both her parents again.

Strong foundations
Family participation. Inclusive education. And of course professional development and environment. They are all firmly included in the State Standard of Preschool values of Kazakhstan since 2008. The Community Foundation (CF) in Almaty lives by these values every day. Sparking hopeful stories such as Nazyms’, and helping tirelessly where situations are not so hopeful. For some twenty years now.

14 regions
The philosophy and strategy of the Community Foundation also captures all the educational spheres – preschool, primary school, colleges and universities. Currently they are active in no less than 14 regions. Another group of volunteers, among whom are scholars and social professionals, serve as mentors in the areas of Kostanay, Pavlodar, Semipalatinsk and Ust-Kamenogorsk.

Peer Learning in Poland
Family resource centers have been set up in the southern regions, among which are Dzhambul, Kyzylorda and Shymkent. Notably, these family centers have been set up in resemblance to the Comenius Foundation for Child Development methods in Poland.

The peer learning included financial studies and several trainings on successful approaches. It has been some time now, but the Kazakhstan colleagues where much impressed with the work done in Gmins (Pol). The lessons learned from the Komensky Foundation are still put to action!

Partners across Eurasia
Cooperating with other organizations is of vital importance. Another notable program to outline this, was one CF did with the Eurasian Foundation in Central Asia. About four years ago now, they had a very successful program in a village called Kuryk.

The team efforts were so effective, that families became deeply involved in school life. They also showed interest in the transition to high school, for themselves and their children. Some parents even turned out to become regular co-workers in one of the programs’ preschools, named Bolashak.

The results were praised so highly because of the effective cooperation between preschool, primary school and the parents. Several story books were written by families and their children, and the Eurasian Foundation praised their importance for school and family life.

Southern challenges and new learnings
But the situation is very different in the South. Migration from Uzbekistan, Mongolia, China and the Caucasus has created a melting pot of up to 100 different nationalities. Families are huge, from 4 to 10 children easily. Rarely do they visit kindergarten or elementary school.

The Community Foundation does seek new learnings with other ISSA members to help address and overcome difficulties in such areas. They stress the importance of sharing knowledge and experience to help the community grow. But, also to help parents become more involved with school and their village. In other words, the Community Foundation is very much open to sharing methods and experiences with other ISSA organizations.


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